LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Deputies said a high-tech tool they used in what became a death investigation can keep law enforcement safe.
A criminal complaint says deputies used a roving robot to search a home near Hixton as they tried to find Brian Helgeson and his 20-year-old son Lars.
Investigators caught Lars Helgeson later near an area farm.
He’s now charged with murder and hiding a corpse in his father’s death.
Helgeson’s expected in court later this month.
“It’s basically another set of eyes for law enforcement,” said La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jeff Wolf.
When the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was trying to find Brian Helgeson and his son Lars, deputies searched the home he shared with his father near Hixton on September 24th.
They didn’t know if anyone was there.
That’s when the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department said the roving robot came in handy.
“This piece of equipment could be used to make observations inside a residence before a tactical team would enter, so they know what the situation is,” said Wolf.
The sheriff’s office didn’t show us the robot, and when we asked them why, they declined comment.
Chief Deputy Jeff Wolf said the robot is only used in emergency situations.
The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department got the robot about two years ago.
Regional tactical teams throughout Wisconsin received grant funding through the Department of Homeland Security, but Wolf said it’s available to all law enforcement.
“Tactical teams are trained for and put in the most dangerous situations, anything we can do to make their job safer, to prevent injury or loss of life,” said Wolf.
The robot costs about $7,000, and provides a live video feed to let investigators see inside buildings without getting too close.